A Very Healthy Treat - Spiced Carrot Bars

Yesterday was a rough day at the office. I was so tired after work, and I still had to hit the grocery store in order to make dinner. Not a fun proposition at 6:30PM. After assuaging my self-induced guilt that not making dinner would result in my family starving, and Chinese takeout would certainly delight Craig and Connor, I made myself an icey Diet Coke and Jamison and decided to take a night off in the kitchen.

But - the guilt quickly came back. In order to ease my failings of not preparing at least “something” culinary for my family, I decided to bake. Baking is not a core skill, so a quick-bread or bars was in order. Preferably something healthy. Voila! Spiced Carrot Bars. These are simply scrumptious, somewhere between carrot cake and spice cake. The bars are moist, not too sweet, and I love the fragrant, musky aroma of the infrequently-used spice, cardamom. These do count as a serving of veggies – right?

Spiced Carrot Bars
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/4 t salt
3 T brown sugar
2 eggs
6 T non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt
2 T orange juice
2 T ginger marmalade heaping
2 cups grated carrots, heaping (about 3 large)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, juice and marmalade. Stir in carrots, then dry ingredients, then cranberries and nuts.

Pour into greased 9" square pan. Bake until done, about 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Guilt be gone!

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